Have you ever considered that every part of your life depends upon nature?

From your clothes, food, and the items you have around you at home, to how you travel, and how you communicate. Every part of your life has been made possible because of nature; its resources, and the services it provides.

There are four main types of services that ecosystems and nature provides to society:

    1. Supporting services
    2. Provisioning services
    3. Regulating services
    4. Cultural services

Supporting Services

Supporting services encompass the functions and processes that underpin the other services which include: plant production, soil processes that regulate carbon transformations and storage and water purification, water storage, flow regulation, groundwater recharge.

Provisioning Services

Provisioning services include products derived from nature’s ecosystems: soils, forests, fisheries, animals, wetlands, and waterways.  The base products we benefit from are food, fibre, raw materials, and timber.

Regulating Services

These services include carbon sequestration and climate regulation, waste decomposition and detoxification, purification of water and air, pest and disease control, erosion regulation, disease regulation, pollination, natural hazard regulation

Maintaining the quality of air and soil, providing flood and disease control, or pollinating crops are regulating services provided by nature.  These are the things that are often invisible and taken for granted. When they are damaged the losses that result can be devastating and difficult to restore.


Cultural Services

Cultural ecosystem services are the non-material benefits that people obtain from nature.  They include the use of nature as motif in books, film, painting, folklore, national symbols, architect, advertising, spiritual and historical (including use of nature for religious or heritage value).

They contribute to a sense of place, encourage social cohesion, and are essential for our mental health and wellbeing

Cultural ecosystems are difficult to measure compared to the other more science based services. People experience nature in a myriad of ways and to different depths. Responses to nature can have deep and personal meanings and can provoke strong reactions (both positive and negative).

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